Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
doesn't make any sense.
- (Sufi Poet Rumi)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Empathy for Big Oil

Do you find yourselves these days struggling to find empathy for those working with the oil industry? I say "those" as it doesn't make sense to empathize with an institution such as "big oil" or the "oil industry" or the "US government." If we bring the frame a reference down to an individual, and not some conspiracy plot or organizational indifference or even purposeful neglect, where do you find your empathy level for others that were in the chain of cause and effect for the gulf oil spill? Perhaps you choose to not have empathy for others. I work on this because out of empathy and an open heart, amazing choices come before me that allow me to give and receive life giving actions.

First I ask, who is impacted and how? It is helpful to be as specific as possible as to individuals and to their needs. I believe the first step is begin with one's self. If we can't find a way to meet our own needs for empathy or to connect with other needs, it is not likely that we can mourn in the ways that are most beneficial, and then to have empathy for others.

What needs come up for you in terms of the oil spill? Beauty? Health? Biodiversity? Protection? Take time to connect to these needs before going on to any others.

Who else?

Birds - which species? So far impacted are pelicans, gannets, terns. Others? What are their needs? Health, food, reproduction, water, protection?

Reptiles - sea turtles

Mammals - dolphins, whales




Oil spill cleanup and rescue crews. What are their needs?


Tourist industry workers



Real estate workers

BP oil rig workers and the family members of those who died or were injured

BP managers and executives

Government employees in regulation industry

Government representatives

President Obama

Who else?

Now, having gone through this exercise, do you have any requests of yourself or others?

For me, during this exercise I came up with a request that didn't exist before. For our congregation's upcoming Animal Blessing Service on June 6th, I will devote part of the service to the oil spill.

What is yours to do?