I get so tired of being serious. I often dream of a life filled with light comic relief. But the world is too damn crazed and I'm too damn affected by it. Which makes for serious business. My solution for not going off the deep end is my relationship with God/Creator/Spirit. It sustains me.
"Sustain" is defined in the New Webster's Dictionary as: "to keep from falling or sinking; to nourish or keep alive; to endure and undergo." So I suspect sustainability means: the ability to prevent a thing from falling apart, while giving nourishment, over a long period of time.
Recent events in Silver City, and around the world, have prompted me to examine the concept of "sustainability." What does it means in terms of our lives—and our future?
Increasing natural—and manmade—disasters around the globe are pushing us to consider how we will handle these scenarios if and when they happen in our own back yards.
Our small corner of paradise may not be faced with volcanoes or hurricanes, although flooding is a real danger. What could easily affect Grant County is infrastructure breakdown, locally and nationally. Being cut off from the rest of the country is not hard to imagine. If gas, food and other of life's necessities could not reach us, how would we cope? How would we sustain ourselves?
A meeting a few weeks ago, hosted by Gila Resources Information Project (GRIP), Hometown Initiative (HI) and the Unitarian Universalists (UUs), demonstrated clearly that this area has a wealth of talented, committed individuals who have joined together in various formats in order to create a vibrant, local, sustainable community. (In next month's Desert Exposure I will present a practical guide to these groups.)
The disasters erupting around the Earth—Armageddon to some, global warming to others and a signal of the "end times" to me—warn that we can no longer live in a bubble of unconsciousness. Events are forcing us to examine our unconscious drooling over SUVs, our addictive gorging on fast foods, and our staggering dependence on consumer products from China.
It's a troublesome fact that Americans seem more in denial about the state of the world than people elsewhere. Is it possible we're hiding behind the American Dream and can't even conceive that it may be crumbling right before our eyes?
While we've blindly bought into the hype of consumerism, we've ignored dire predictions of global deterioration and potential realities such as "peak oil," which if explored forces you to examine how petroleum products define and drive our lives—and I don't just mean cars. It's stunning.
The fact is, sustainability of life as we know and love it is threatened on several levels. If we wish to survive, let alone grow and flourish, we must take practical steps to secure our world.
This column is often filled with talk about building balance internally, about the necessity of creating a sustainable relationship with yourself and Spirit/God. The question today is: Is your spiritual foundation strong enough to carry you into any possible future? Maybe it's time to ask if your belief system and values are sustainable, given reality. Do they hold up under scrutiny or are they filled with dead ends and dark holes? Can your perspective be changed or will you cling to your beliefs as you might your possessions— come hell or high water?
Sustained personal healing and growth does not happen in a vacuum. How you vibrate affects your environment. Your family and community are all affected by you. How will your family sustain itself if a disaster happens? (Editor's note: For a different take on this topic, see "Is the Sky Really Falling?") How will your community sustain itself—and you—if the world crashes around it? These days, sustainability and security walk hand in hand.
Wars, natural disasters and an escalating "cost of living" are racing across the world stage, with increasing signs of deterioration waiting in the wings. For example, in the US, loss of personal freedoms looms as the government seeks to secure its citizenry.
One way to counter these fearful potentialities is action on a personal level. What can you do to "up" your security level? What can you do to build a safe and secure environment in order to face these challenging times?
Part of the population thinks it means buying guns and ammo to protect their individual homesteads, while storing food, water and other staples in enough quantity that their family will survive.
We are shooting ourselves in the foot if we don't think beyond our own personal security. Isn't it more logical in terms of survival to bring the wagons together around the campfire and watering hole, rather than hiding in our basements with the guns and children, doling out army rations while scheduling perimeter patrols of our property?
Isn't it common sense that more options and resources are available to solve problems, build security and create sustainability if we come together in community groups? If we—the people—created the first American Dream, can we not create the second?
This is what inspires me about the many citizen organizations that are forming here in Grant County. All involved have a strong desire to take control of their lives and their futures—from building greenhouses and solving the recycling fiasco in Silver City to housing construction and training entrepreneurs. They understand intuitively that we must work together. Building a sustainable community depends on a variety of enterprises, all of which are interlinked and interdependent. The strength of any community lies in sharing passions, knowledge and skills.
Building internal and external sustainability in our communities is how you build security. It's a way to fight fear and build peace. It's healthy and it's necessary for our survival. I urge you to consider what you might need to do to create the reality that you want—and then do it.
If you are new to town and want to find out more about all the opportunities to put your skills and interests "out there," call the GRIP office at 538-0878, or tune in next month for more details.
"Into the Future" columnist Siri Dharma is based in Silver City.