Julia Butterfly Hill may be a familiar name to you, but I'm sad to say her name didn't ever register in my time as a self absorbed middle and then high schooler in suburban Virginia. She sat in a redwood tree in California to protest deforestation for two years.
She sat in a tree. She lived in a tree.
For two. freaking. years.
Meanwhile, I've been feeling so powerless and useless and frustrated lately in the face of the never-ending tsunami of news of corruption and incompetence coming out of the White House (or Mar-a-Lago, more often than not), and on the one hand, hearing about this just makes me feel even worse and even more useless. I donate to charities, I keep myself informed, I write and call my elected officials, I make my living helping women and kids feel empowered and peaceful, I do my best to use reusable shopping bags over plastic, but what am I really doing? What is any of it really doing? (And dear lord, the amount of times I don't have a reusable shopping bag and contribute to the plastic crisis!)
On the other hand- it actually makes me feel better.
I learned about Julia because one of the world's most spectacular yoga teachers and humans, Elizabeth Barnett, spoke about her in class at The Giving Tree last night, and read a quotation of hers that brought me to tears. I'll pull from her website:
No matter the diversity of beliefs, we all know we live in a world full of problems. Yet, one of the biggest problems is that not enough of us realize that we also live in a world full of solutions - and then live our lives as these solutions in action.
May you know that your every thought, word, and action makes a difference.
The question we need to ask ourselves is not, "Can one person make a difference?" Each and every one of us does make a difference. It is actually impossible to not make a difference. So the question we need to ask ourselves is, "What kind of a difference do I want to make?"
It sort of reminds me of the butterfly effect (no relation). The smallest action can have a massive impact. Even though sometimes the things I might do feel small and trivial and not actually helping to save the world, it's better than choosing not to do it at all.
It also reminds me to be brave and try to do more than I am. Even when I don't know what that is, or if I struggle with self doubt.
Every day, to once again crib from Elizabeth, is Earth Day. We need it more than it needs us.
Let's all do something big or something small, but let's do something, today and every day to help support it, and support our future as a species.