Spent the better part of yesterday having my faith restored in human nature as I collected donations for the Hawaii Foodbank – Kauai Branch at Kukui Grove and saw folks smile, share, give — even those who looked like they could least afford it.
Perhaps it was because at one time they'd been on the receiving line themselves, which always increases empathy and compassion.
We were just about to close up when a man who appeared to be a tourist, given the cleanliness and design of his tee-shirt, walked up pushing a shopping cart packed full of groceries from Times.
“I'll make you a deal,” he said, and removed a small bottle of dish detergent, a tube of toothpaste, from the bags. “I'll keep these and you keep the rest.”
It was so generous, so surprising — emotions that no doubt played across my decidedly non-poker face — that he burst into laughter, as did I. And I felt happier than I had in a long time.
On the way into town, I'd chatted on my cell phone — hands-free, of course — with Farmer Jerry, who had marshaled 50 guys on Thursday to set up the Garden Fair and was gonna be there all day on Saturday, until it was time to break it down again.
And I was reminded anew that when it's not scrapping, this community shares a lot of its heart and soul, which is why, on the way home, I found myself singing exuberantly along with the radio, “We are family....” Though as is true with my own large family, there are some I like better than others, some I'd prefer to avoid. But still, there's no denying that we're all connected.
Which got me thinking, this morning, of another song:
I am no better and neither are you
We are the same whatever we do
You love me, you hate me, you know me and then
You can't figure out the bag I'm in
'Cause I am everyday people
In recent months, as I've criticized the anti-GMO movement, found a few things to like about KIUC, declined to denounce the dairy and called to task and account politicians I previously favored, I've had folks express bewilderment, even fury. One woman, who has perhaps exchanged a dozen words with me, said she could only surmise I'd suffered a brain injury, I was so changed. A man said that more and more of his friends — though not mine — were “increasingly distraught” that I seemed to have gone over to the “dark side.” Another woman left a flaming attack comment that ended with the query: “What have you done with Joan Conroy? [sic]”
What I have done with Joan Conrow is allow her mind to continually question, open, reflect, ponder, broaden — a process that makes it painful for me to keep living in the duality mindset of me good-you bad, me right-you wrong, me pono-you hewa. We are all — every single one of us — complicit in the problems we face, the “ecocide” we are currently waging against Earth. And we are all responsible for the solutions, or lack thereof.
We can't blame government, or even corporations, because they are merely a reflection of us. We've created them through our belief systems, our voting, our consuming and lifestyle choices. Nor can we expect those entities to fix anything for us. We've got to engage in the hard, dirty work of conscious change ourselves.
As Luke Evslin states so well in his thoughtful blog, which always inspires me to be better and kinder:
We're in this together. We need a true dialogue. We need a solutions based conversation. We need a vision for the future and we need to pave a path forward. The status-quo isn't working and the quality of life on Kaua'i is steadily declining.
Though he references this little world onto itself that is Kauai, his message encompasses all of humanity, the entire planet. It's up to us, and the more we know about the big picture, different points of view, the better our solutions, the clearer our path, will be.
This blog has always been, and will continue to be, an independent, informed voice. Despite assertions to the contrary, I've never taken any money from biotech, KIUC, Ulupono or any other corporate interest, and in fact, none of them have offered.
But I hope that you, dear Reader, will. I've added a PayPal donation button to this site. Or if you prefer to remain anonymous, you can send a contribution to PO Box 525, Anahola, 96703.
Mahalo for reading, for the words of encouragement and support that always seem to arrive when precisely when needed, and most especially, for caring. Because if you didn't, you wouldn't be on this site.