Earth Notes: A quiet revolution

164ASP944757289-443“Are you polluting the world or cleaning up the mess? You are responsible for your inner space; nobody else is, just as you are responsible for the planet. As within, so without: If humans clear the inner pollution, then they will also cease to create outer pollution,” Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now.

By Jen Deraspe

When I observe the impact our species has on the planet, I sometimes am in awe. Most critters do not defecate in their living quarters. There is a designated area set aside for such happenings.

Then, we have the human. Our collective level of use, abuse and consumption may be more than our home can handle and still be habitable.

Once I was lying on a grassy knoll resting in the sun and watching the sky, an unusual happening for a fiery 20-something-year old. Even through the busy-ness of that mind, I began to notice how the curve of the ground beneath me fit perfectly under my ribs, hips and shoulder as I lie on my side. I felt held and supported. I noticed the sun’s warmth, the deep blue sky; I was present. Then, I realized that all of what we use in this life actually comes from the earth. This was news to me! I thought it came from the lumberyard, grocery store or department store.

Before Tupperware, over the counter medications, grocery bags and plastic money, we made our containers, gathered our own food and medicine. We all once were tribal, indigenous people, living in villages, jungles, forests, along rivers or the sea. Back through the generations and down the lineages of our ancestors, we lived closer to the land, dependent upon it, ourselves and community for survival.

We tend to romanticize these simpler times as if all was well and good in the old days. And yet the human mind may have been nearly the same as it is today, even less evolved. Disagreements, misunderstandings, separation, oppression, war and abuse happened.

A very early literary work, Gilgamesh, dated 1700 BC, was scribed on 11 stone tablets. In part, it spoke of tyranny, oppression, war, terror, and jealousy. Clearly, human minds have been living out fear for much of recorded history. No species has annihilated its own kind to the scale that ours have, over differing beliefs, opinions and misunderstandings.
How did this all come to be? How did we get to this place in our civilization? Does the mind’s power of believing its own thoughts, individually and collectively, as families, cultures, religions, and nations, lead to the war, greed and desecration that we see today? The mind-identified “believer” is a powerful entity.

Being caught up in the day to day is often so consumptive. Relationships, money issues, health, parents, children, school, work — throw in a little trauma and drama and that is much of the focus. There is little personal energy left to affect greater change. Water quality, heavy metals in the squirrel’s liver and the implication of eagles flying into telephone poles to their death go unseen, unheard, even trivialized.

When I am upset with my partner when taking something personal that was not intended to be at all, I become consumed in the upset and cannot see the world or others around me very well. I stop caring about anything other this upset.

When I am able to pause, witness the beliefs behind the upset, question them in search of what is really true, the egoic mind softens and sees the whole picture. Understanding and calmness is restored. I can see and hear again beyond the small mindedness that was dominating my existence earlier.

Taken on a larger scale, moments of clarity from insightful, present individuals leads to amazing advances implemented in the way of sustainable development, alternative energy, organic farming, conservation, green economics and social justice.

The more clear mind gets, the more obvious and aligned it feels to take good care of the home, be it the body, the dwelling and the larger habitat including all its inhabitants. The human being transcends to the humane being. In doing my work, through deepening awareness, responsibility, accountability and critical thinking, clarity begins to prevail, leading me to right action with ease and satisfaction.

My work is to clean up my own backyard and I can’t do that effectively until I clean up my mind.   In a clear state of mind, housekeeping becomes effortless. From there it becomes a natural, creative expression to move beyond the immediate into a broader healing space around me. Others join hands in the movement. This quiet revolution towards sustainability and kindness to self, others, and earth may not be televised and it may just be the most potent, exciting opportunity of our time.
Jen Deraspe, founder of Nurture Through Nature Eco-Retreat Center in Denmark, lives happily off the grid on the southwestern slopes of Pleasant Mountain. For more information, please visit

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