Today is Canada Day and this Saturday is Independence Day here in the States. Being from Canada originally, and living in the States for almost 6 years, my heart vascillates between the two - family, community, weather, politics, finances, landscape - so different in each country. Having also spent time in Europe, I feel a connection there as well, especially in Portugal. I realized this evening that the most important thing to me is that I live a life of meaning, that I contribute not only to my country, but to the world - that it's not about where I live, but how I am living that is more important to me than anything. I cannot say that I am "proud" to be from any one place when I know that there has been much destruction, abuse, violence, oppression, discrimination connected to all places. At the same time, my heart stays connected to "place" in the sense of beautiful natural settings, groups of compassionate, loving and supportive people and within communities and groups who strive to make their communities and the world a better place. We begin locally and it ripples out from there. To me, this is a reflection of the spiritual life - beginning within us and moving outward. If I am not a peace with myself, if I cannot accept myself, if I cannot be loving and compassionate toward myself, then I cannot move peacefully, with acceptance, love and compassion out into the world. I do not associate these qualities with a place or a particular group, but with a "way" of being in the world. I believe that there are only two ways of being in the world: living out of fear or living from a place of love. I have chosen love and suffer because of it. I have chosen love and have grown because of it. I have chosen love and it requires my devotion and attention each and every day. In this world, I don't have the choice of not having any citizenship, of not "belonging" to a country, but I am keenly aware that I do not belong to any one place. I will have to be satisfied to say I'm a global citizen even while I am a citizen of one country and a resident of another. As we watch the fireworks, share the feast, splash the colours and wave the flags, may we remember that we are responsible to all life on the planet even as we celebrate our place on it.
Soul in the World