Be Green Inside

The cliché is something like: You can’t change the world without changing yourself. Peace in the world requires peace within.

You can’t love your neighbour without loving yourself.

You know how it goes.

I am also of the conviction that it is not enough to try to “do” more green things–like all the lifestyle changes many environmentalists propose (like not using plastic bags or too much water or electricity, or eating local, or biking instead of driving).

It is also important to be ‘green’ inside.

“Being” better, healthier, more harmonious and loving might need to precede “doing” better if it’s going to really have an impact.

What does it matter if we recycle, if we still hate our neighbour? Who cares if we buy organic if we are emotionally toxic?

What good will an energy-saving lightbulb filled with mercury do if we are unable to be kind…or happy…or forgiving…or respectful of all life?

“Doing” better might make a difference for a while, but it doesn’t address the root causes of our collective crisis.

In any case, the world is changing.

And it’s changing us…or giving us opportunities to change.

Whether we take them or not, the Earth will keep turning. Nature will keep cycling according to its laws and rhythms.

No matter how much of it is destroyed, maintaining or restoring balance and order will continue to be the intrinsic impulse of natural systems.

And so it is within us as well. As body-mind organisms, we are naturally attuned to the breath of life.

What happens when we lose that connection within; when we become detuned or out of tune?

Like a musical instrument that is out of whack, we no longer resonate to the natural order of our own being.

And so we feel crappy–physically, emotionally and/or mentally–like Kermit the frog probably did when he sang ‘It’s Not Easy Being Green’.

The poor frog was depressed–undergoing some sort of existential crisis. He wasn’t meant to be an icon for the environmental movement.

In the late sixties, when the song was written, I think it had more to do with civil rights–some kind of lesson about the challenge of being different and how we should love ourselves and others even if we aren’t like others or others aren’t like us.

By the end of the tune, Kermit decides that green (like black?) is beautiful. When he later finds the love of his life, he shows us that a frog can love a pig (as a bird can love a fish) and they can find a home together as stars of the stage (at least as long as they are anthropomorphized).

But I don’t think Kermit sat around lamenting the pond’s degraded ecosystem or asking himself what Jesus would do if Miss Piggy was acting like a bitch.

Maybe singing the lilly-pad blues was the best way he knew how to handle his angst. Better than giving in to his challenge with self-destructive behaviour or some kind of escape that distracted him from the root of his problem.

We never heard Kermit say anything like: “Sod it. Being green’s just too damn hard” and pour himself a strong one.

Although self-hatred has pushed many to all kinds of addictive and deleterious behaviour, Kermit never turned to smoking or drinking or drugging or womanizing or leaving it all behind to backpack in South-East Asia.  He never looked outside himself for answers. And that’s something.