Sitting down at the beach late yesterday afternoon, dampened by a fine misting rain that felt colder than it really was because it was delivered by a stiff wind, debating whether I should jump in the water, and knowing that I must, because it was so beautifully gray and blue and green. And so I did, as Koko danced on the shore and barked, and in this way, the psychic BS was washed away and I emerged dripping and smiling and renewed.
Remarkable, how the ocean — nature — works its magic if we only let it.
That reminds me of a call I got from farmer Jerry yesterday afternoon, telling me he’d spent four hours in a closed, air-conditioned office the day before, working on an application, and found the process deadening. “I felt like my brain just shut down and I couldn’t even think,” he said.
“And just think, that’s how all our major decisions are made, by people who spend the bulk of their lives in rooms entirely closed off from the life force, from nature,” I replied.
“No wonder things are so screwed up,” he said, and I agreed, although that’s only one of the reasons.
Lately I’ve been thinking it’s also due to what we eat. I discussed this with my friend Ka`imi, a taro farmer, the other day, and again on Thursday’s radio show. He said Hawaiians had an old saying — “no pilikia in the taro patch” — that still persists today because there’s an understanding of the dynamic that one’s thoughts, feelings, intentions are transmitted into what we create.
This is especially true of taro, because it is grown submerged in water, and we know from the research of Masaru Emoto that human vibrational energy affects the molecular structure of water, which comprises 70 percent of our bodies and covers a similar percentage of the earth’s surface.
So think about the animals we eat, which have large amounts of water in their bodies, too, and the horrid factory farm conditions in which nearly all of them are raised. As Jonathan Safran Foer writes in a New York Times excerpt (ironically, factory farm enabler Monsanto has an ad on one the web pages) from his new book, “Eating Animals”:
According to reports by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. and others, factory farming has made animal agriculture the No. 1 contributor to global warming (it is significantly more destructive than transportation alone), and one of the Top 2 or 3 causes of all of the most serious environmental problems, both global and local: air and water pollution, deforestation, loss of biodiversity. . . . Eating factory-farmed animals — which is to say virtually every piece of meat sold in supermarkets and prepared in restaurants — is almost certainly the single worst thing that humans do to the environment.
Every factory-farmed animal is, as a practice, treated in ways that would be illegal if it were a dog or a cat. Turkeys have been so genetically modified they are incapable of natural reproduction. To acknowledge that these things matter is not sentimental. It is a confrontation with the facts about animals and ourselves. We know these things matter.
It’s obvious that factory farmed animals are harming the planet. Doesn’t it stand to reason that they're harming those of us who eat them, too? Is our society so sick, literally and figuratively, because of the negative energy and bad vibes that permeate our food? It makes sense to me, and thinking about this has prompted changes in my diet.
Here on Kauai, carnivores are fortunate to have access to wild pigs, fish from our local waters and beef from cows that never know the misery of a feedlot and graze in pastures that help keep ag land out of development. It’s yet another reason to eat local, plus it supports the people who live here, rather than big corporations.
The whole factory farm approach to livestock has grown up out of the capitalistic mindset, which calls for minimizing expenses and maximizing profits, with no thought to the life force that’s extinguished along the way.
And that brings to mind a George Helm quote that Ka`imi brought up: “I don’t want a piece of the pie. I want a piece of the poi.”
It’s a sentiment that speaks to the difference between pursuing cash, or a lifestyle grounded in a different set of values. And it’s worth thinking about this time of the year, the makahiki season, which is all about peace and the harvest and giving thanks — giving back.
Ka`imi told of the trip he’ll be taking to Kaho`olawe next week, a special makahiki access, when the participants bring the very best of whatever they have grown or gathered — big, perfect taro, awa, sweet potato, poi, fish, ulu — and offer it up with the humble request that they’ll be blessed with abundance next year, too.
It’s all about giving back the best first, before asking for more. And that got me thinking about an email from Maui Farm Bureau President Warren Watanabe that is being sent around to rally support against a state proposal to return more water to Maui’s streams. Watanabe wrote:
For every person on Maui, this sent a message that fish in the stream have priority rights to water.
Farm Bureau's position is that all uses ...instream and offstream uses must be accounted for when decisions are made. The Maui Community must be protected. Agriculture which will not exist without these waters cannot be sacrificed.
At the same time we are strongly advocating for new source developments which will provide more water. As more water is available, decisions to return more water to the streams can be reasonable.
So in other words, they want to have the guarantee of being able to take more before they’ll even think about giving some back.
That’s how turned around our thinking has gotten, and it’s played out in every political, cultural, economic and social scenario you can think of — because that’s what we’re thinking.