Musings: Home Around the World

A dear friend of mine insists that our world would be a much better place today if people had stayed in their own lands throughout history and did not migrate or explore. Cultural traditions would have remained strong and pure, and humanity’s history of warfare and genocide would never have taken place.

Even Dorothy, from The Wizard of Oz, seems to echo these sentiments with the simple words she was given to awaken from her dream: “There’s no place like home.” And once she’s awake, back home in her own bed, she tells her family and friends gathered around her that the most important lesson of her journey so far away was that if she couldn’t find something right in her own backyard, it wasn’t worth looking for in the first place.

Yet learning from and sharing with other cultures around the world is one of the finer points of being human. Nothing is more fascinating than exploring our living Earth, whether through books, school, TV or visiting those special places yourself. The incredible variety of life forms, cultures, landscapes and history is a rainbow inheritance we all share as humans on this small, blue planet, a priceless storehouse of living knowledge. Each different culture, species and expression of Mother Earth contributes a unique sparkle to the light of the world, an essential piece to the whole. As we travel and explore, we come to recognize this light more and more around the globe, and the glow of world peace brightens on the horizon. There are many travel accounts in this issue of Spirit of Change that inspire this hope, and confirm that the dots of light around the globe can be connected with increasingly positive results.

Yet we are also aware of places of violence, injustice and pollution which have taken root on our planet, spreading misery and destruction. In war torn areas, the chaos is manmade. In December 2004, a natural catastrophe created terrible chaos and destruction through a tsunami. In both sets of circumstances, the intervention of human efforts is necessary to rebalance these events with hope, compassion and aid.

In your travels, remember that you are an ambassador of light to any new place where you arrive. Put your best foot forward as you “go along for the ride” in this new land, instead of trying to plan too much ahead. The ground you walk on is sacred to people past and present in that area, and you are a guest. The plants, animals and people native to the area are your hosts and deserve your courtesy, gratitude and awareness. They have many things to teach you and show you in their natural surroundings if you give them your time and attention. Being aware of the spirit of the land in this way creates a cooperative mindset which will help your journey be much more pleasant overall. If we can borrow from the words of John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your host country can do for you; ask what you can do for your host." How can you honor this land you are visiting, disturb nothing, and hopefully leave it brighter than when you arrived?

On many occasions, I have watched Felipe Ixcot, a Mayan elder from Weston, VT, place a spontaneous kiss on an item he is speaking about — an ear of corn, a rock, Mother Earth herself — as a beautiful gesture of the respect and connection between ourselves and the land which sustains us. It inspires me to remember my gratitude and humility more often, and how richly blessed we are in our lives — all of it originating from Mother Earth. If we can remember to bring this same sense of connection and reverence as we visit new lands, we can increase the glow of world peace and unity each place we touch down. For those, such as myself, who are not distance travelers, we can step out into our own backyards and light up the spirit of the land locally with our awareness. The spirit of the land is everywhere.

Summer is that special time of year when the fireflies flash at night, reminding us of fairies, little people, and dreams that can come true. Travel abroad also inspires hope and visions of magical getaways where “maybe life would be different.” Yes, we do have the power to change our lives and change the world, both home and abroad, and it starts with awareness and good intentions for wherever we find ourselves today. Start small, one step or mile at a time, and go slow enough to feel and appreciate the sense of place unique to each patch of land. Then make a wish on all those fireflies one night and never lose hope for miraculous times of peace and world unity ahead.

Carol Bedrosian is publisher and editor of Spirit of Change.

Readers! Note our new address change and phone number to Spirit of Change, PO Box 405, Uxbridge, MA 01569. Phone: 508-278-9640.