Archive for July 4th, 2012

Yes, that’s right, you read it correctly!

Yes, it’s not a typo!

Check this out!


“In a world where global interdependence is not simply an aspiration of idealists, but a brute fact of forces that bind us together — global warming, financial capital, AIDS, telecommunications, crime, migration, and terrorism — many people still think in narrow, insular terms.

Reality is global, but consciousness too often remains local — constrained by town and nation.

In the year 2000, a small group of scholars, civic and political leaders, and artists from a dozen nations met to design a program that might help raise consciousness around the realities and possibilities of interdependence.  Their efforts were given impetus by the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and the group created a project that would:

  • Make September 12, the day following the memorial of 9/11, an international celebration of interdependence as “Interdependence Day”.
  • Draw up a “Declaration of Interdependence“, making it clear that both liberty and security require cooperation among peoples and nations and can no longer be secured by sovereign nations working unilaterally.
  • Develop a Civic Interdependence Curriculum that would make interdependence a central concept in Civics and Social Studies programs in as many middle and high schools around the world as possible.”

WOW!  How awesome is that?

Have you heard of this?  I had not.

I know the concept of interdepence from Buddhism. . .  Thich Nhat Hanh, of course, has written about interdependence, the net of Indra, and inter being.

And when I woke up this morning, several Buddhist friends had “Happy Interdependence Day!” as their status post on Facebook.

I decided what a great supplemental blog post for today, since I am at home and trying to stay out of the heat.

When I googled “interdependence” so that I could find a photo too attach to the post, I stumbled across the website for the Interdependence Project.

You know what I really like this? Isolation

I think that despite all of our social media, massive transportation systems, and variety of devices to “be together”, we are farther and farther from each other.

We don’t know how to be present.

We don’t know how to listen.

We don’t know how to cultivate compassion for people in pain or people who are different.

I really want to embrace this theme.

Now, before I say this next part, I am going to preface it.

Some of the happiest times of my life were spent at the beach in Fairfield, CT, with a picnic basket and my best friend, hanging out until it got dark enough for fireworks.  Then the thrill of the display, walking home from the beach in the heat of the July night, usually giggling with my best friend over the cute Prep School boys we saw at the beach.  And the night would be rounded out with ice cream at the Firehouse Deli off of the Post Road.

Okay. . .so now I am grown up and far away from Fairfield 😦

And I really have a hard time on July 4th.

I hate what we do to the environment.

It bothers me that we spend millions of dollars on fireworks that last 30 minutes when kids don’t have pencils for school or wholesome food in their bellies before they go to bed.

I think about the sounds . . . battle sounds. . . that bother my friends dog, or give people nightmares. . .I think about all of our military personnel who have been overseas and heard similar noises, not for fun and games but for real.  I think about the trauma they have come home with, that we don’t know how to treat and how to make them whole again.


I get that our country was founded by people giving their lives to create a free society.

But we spend millions, guzzle diet coke and eat hot dogs (Brats in you’re here in the Midwest or Peppers and Sausage if you are back home). . . we wave our flags made in China, and we listen to two crazy groups try to sell us on a candidate in November, both of whom will probably do very little to make the world a better place because they are under the influence of the powerful and wealthy.

I don’t see the point.

I don’t see the point when we could come together with our talents and create something different.

A week or two ago, I watched Restaurant Impossible with Robert Irvine.  He was “on a mission” to help the First Lady, Michelle Obama, turn around a small non-for-profit that feeds kids in DC.  Cute show, of course I was tearful by the end.

But then I sat there frustrated.

Why do we need a show to do this?

Why aren’t we tilling the soil near schools so that every class could have a small agricultural project in the classroom and fresh veggies in the dining hall?

Why don’t we just do it?  Don’t we get that those kids could some day be our nurses, our engineers, the people who will take care of me when I am old, the people who will teach generations to come?

Why don’t we just save them now?

Why do we have to have a television show when we need to reign in the FDA for letting them put chemicals in our food?

And they just passed pizza off as a “vegetable” because it has some tomato paste on it?


I know by now, it might feel like this is a rant, like I am anti a lot of things that are American and I really am not.

I am sad that there is so much to do and we can be so unskillful with our resources, time, effort, and means.

Things won’t change until we all start to really understand and embrace our interconnection, our interdependence on each other and our world.

We need to want better for the widow down the road who now has cancer herself.

We need to want current school books with accurate information to help our kids grow in knowledge, ethics, and service to others.

We have to want fresh water, healthy food, clean air, and safety for all before things will change.

And how do we change?

One at a time it appears.

One at a time, connecting with others is how we make a difference.

So, start on your cushion or your block, focus on your breathing.

Find others who know that they are breathing too.

Google groups that want to help us breathe cleaner air or volunteer for groups that provide asthmatic kids with summer camps.

Spend 10 minutes today writing a letter to someone . . . to Mrs. Obama, to the FDA, or sign a petition.

Spend $10 and by a Dharma book or other inspirational book for a library, a prison dharma program, or a children’s classroom.

Make a difference. . . because when you do, it helps you and it helps me.  And together we change the world.

Don’t believe it?

Yes, we can. . . remember that slogan?

Well, yes, we were able to win an election with the collective power that we channeled.

And then we got complacent.

So can we again?

Yes we can every day, at every moment.

Find a cause, you don’t have to take them all on.

Don’t have money because of the rocky economy?  Do you have time, talent, hope?

If you do nothing else but sit on your cushion and spend 10 minutes doing Metta meditation, you will have given this world a great gift of independence and interdependence.

If we don’t start to cultivate mindful awareness now, when will we?

If we don’t start to realize that we are all connected on this planet, we won’t have a planet.

Reach out, sit down, pick up a phone, walk in a circle. . . whatever you can do. . . but don’t wait. . .

And lastly, Mark your calendar for Sept 12, 2012 and celebrate our interdependence and interbeing in this wild, wonderful world we can home.

Peaceful wishes to you and those you love.

Om Mani Padme Hum

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English: Tomato plants sprouted from seeds. Se...

English: Tomato plants sprouted from seeds. Seeds were planted in reconstituted compressed seed pellets and placed in a planting tray. These seedlings are between one and two weeks old. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Patience of Cultivation

“When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet. You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time. Similarly, just do your daily practice and cultivate a kind heart. Abandon impatience and instead be content creating the causes for goodness; the results will come when they’re ready.”

– Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron, “Meditator’s Toolbox”

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