We Are All One – Earth Day and Everyday
I have used this photo before when I took it last autumn in my back yard. The photo shows all of my children, their spouses and all my grandchildren as well as family pets. The pets were included because they simply belong in the family. I can say “this is my family, we are one” with pride and with love. We are one family. Yet when they return to their homes they find “family” centres around a more nuclear definition – mother, father, and child(ren), a grouping which still holds true. I often wonder about how my family has changed over the years from three children in a house where we laughed, played, worked and cried. We shared it all. We were one, separate and whole, a family.
But the truth is, even then we were more than that. My friends, my wife’s friends, our extended families, my co-workers, my wife’s co-workers, our neighbours, our children’s playmates and even enemies were intricately woven into the very fabric of what and who we were as a family. People we didn’t personally know or meet also became vital forces working on who and what we were as a family – politics, economics, the market place, and other things we had no awareness of at all.
As I sit and look at this photo, I am reminded of the places we have been, of the moments where nature was at the centre in provincial parks, on the shorelines of various lakes and rivers, when we fished, when we hiked, when we played. As we wandered through small sloughs seeing life in front of us, we connected, learned and grew to be healthier. I see in the photo, the love of the outdoors – of water, earth and sun – and I know that nature is at the centre, always present.
Now, my house is empty. My wife is at work, my children are in their own homes with their own children. In spite of the distance and physical absence, we are still one. Joining them in the embrace of my family are people I have met in my travels, people who have touched me, nourished me, and taught me to be more open and inclusive – a gay psychiatrist in America, a teacher in Rajasthan, a guide in Vietnam, a young Buddhist monk in Laos, a nameless girl taking her brothers and sisters to school in a small boat in Cambodia, a young man in China who adopted us as his Canadian parents, fellow pilgrims on the Chemin de Saint Jacques in France – the list goes on and on. And surprisingly, some who join them at the centre of my family I have never met at all. Thanks to the work of countless numbers of people, the world of cyberspace has given me brothers and sisters of spirit and soul – a man in Denmark, a fellow pilgrim in Australia, a writer in Britain, a psychotherapist in Ireland, a psychologist in Mexico, a naturist author and professor in America – and so many more. Each of these people have taught me simply through their existence, that I am more than the sum of my body’s cells. And, they have taught me that the countless billions who I don’t yet know, may never know, are also members of my family.
We are all one with this place we call home, our planet. We are all the children of Mother Earth and Father Sun. We are all One.