Friday, July 3, 2015 on the eve of America’s Independence Day, I participated in a ceremony at the Great Oak. Four civilians stood in a quiet circle at the base of this powerfully primitive Penn Tree, as Jim Crater, founder of Recycling Services Inc. and longtime steward of the Great Oak, declared Broken Arrow. While this small, understated ceremony could go unnoticed as an insignificant event, those in attendance will concede that a flame of hope has been lit, illuminating our path towards healing and wholeness.
On the battlefield, Broken Arrow is a desperate call for help by a ground unit facing imminent destruction. Once sounded, the call requires immediate supportive action from all available air units in range. As we celebrate our Independence Day this weekend, we can’t ignore the irony: independence, a concept treasured by the American people, is carried on the backs and lives of those who fought and died for our freedom.
This is our battle cry. We hereby declare Broken Arrow to break the chains that our fellow brothers and sisters bear silently each day.
As we circled together at the foot of this great tree, nearly 600 years old, we called upon the Great Spirit of Freedom to help heal our wounded warriors and to acknowledge our interdependence. Even those of us who are lovers of peace and disbelievers in war, must accept our responsibility to honor and support the people who are victims of noble ideals, such as independence and freedom, which we all strive to enjoy.
We are not independent, nor are we free.
We are interdependent and the suffering of some is the suffering of all.
In the United States, approximately 18-22 veterans commit suicide each day. Add to that number, hundreds of civilians who are so broken, destitute, and alone, that their only option is to leave this life by their own hands. According to the CDC, there is one death by suicide every 13 minutes (approximately 108 per day) in the US.
This loss, this suffering, affects us all, as we are irrevocably interconnected.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.” – Chief Seattle
Whether we understand this connectedness or not, it’s power over our lives determines our survival as a species. We all have the choice, as individuals, to choose: creation or destruction. In our own lives, we either heal or hinder by the choices we make. For those of us who have experienced and witnessed (none of us are exempt) the greatest suffering and pain, healing begins with reconnection. We need to discover our common thread: with community, with earth, with ourselves, with each other.
The Common Thread is our lifeline, our roots that anchor us into whole being.
So let us begin, by planting the seeds. Today we celebrate our interconnectedness, on July 5, 2015, INTERDEPENDENCE DAY.
We can start by reaching out, or in. When you see suffering in others, and yourself, do not turn a blind eye. Broken Arrow has been declared. We are being called to look, to speak, to help, to create true freedom, for all beings. Unshackle your brothers and sisters, animals and plants, and you will be set free.
If you are a wounded warrior or know someone who is, please reach out for community and support. There are resources available. Some are listed below.
- Veteran’s Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK
- Hopeline – Kristin Brooks Hope Center
For more information on Jim Crater’s projects at Recycling Services Inc.
- Great Oak Preservation
- The Common Thread
- Mobile Solar Energy, Electric Porsche, Full Circle Thinking and more
In solidarity, I will continue to share and build community through Common Threads and striving to create sacred space for all of our brothers and sisters to shed their chains.
Zoe Sophia (Alexis Campbell)
Men! whose boast it is that ye Come of fathers brave and free, If there breathe on earth a slave, Are ye truly free and brave? If ye do not feel the chain, When it works a brother’s pain, Are ye not base slaves indeed, Slaves unworthy to be freed?
Women! who shall one day bear Sons to breathe New England air, If ye hear, without a blush, Deeds to make the roused blood rush Like red lava through your veins, For your sisters now in chains,– Answer! are ye fit to be Mothers of the brave and free?
Is true Freedom but to break Fetters for our own dear sake, And, with leathern hearts, forget That we owe mankind a debt? No! true freedom is to share All the chains our brothers wear And, with heart and hand, to be Earnest to make others free!
They are slaves who fear to speak For the fallen and the weak; They are slaves who will not choose Hatred, scoffing, and abuse, Rather than in silence shrink From the truth they needs must think; They are slaves who dare not be In the right with two or three.
– James Russell Lowell’s poem: Stanzas On Freedom