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Month: February 2023

It’s Never Too Late

It’s Never Too Late

Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

“No offence, but I hope I never see you again,” Reilly said, as he hoisted his knapsack onto his shoulder.

“No worries, man. The feelings mutual.” He clapped him on the shoulder. “And thanks again for what you did for our Kelly. That was big of ya.”

“Well, I trained as a paramedic when I was younger and so it’s not something you forget.”

“Still, thanks.” Reilly gave a mock salute as he walked through the door. He almost winced as he heard it slam shut after him, the lock being put in place again.

Reilly just kept walking. It was only when he’d made it past the fencing and the exterior gate that he turned around. He stood for a moment, taking it in, the gate, the fence, topped by fiendish razor wire surrounding all the buildings.

His eye went to a bird, a starling he thought, who’d made a nest in the eaves of the one outbuilding. He knew the name because it’s a bird for whom his late wife always used to feel sorry. She was always soft-hearted about things like that.

But imagine. Here was a bird who actually chose to come here. Most of them would run a mile to get away from the place.

He followed the serpentine road as it wound it’s way off the property. His mind shifted through a wide range of thoughts. Images of Trudy during her final moments. How he’d completely lost it when she’d died. How he’d turned back to his old habits, finally ending up in here. Reilly kept walking, head down.

He had an address for a place where he could stay for a short while at least, enough time to find a place of his own, maybe a job. It’d be worth his while to get in touch with his old union. Maybe they’d accept a former criminal. He shook his head in disgust. He’d made so many mistakes. Useless. But at least he was able to get off the heroin. There’d been nothing good about it, leading down sordid pathways through the underbelly of life.

What would Trudy say. He laughed, thinking, he knew she wouldn’t be disappointed. She’d likely say, well, this is a new chapter. But that was the problem. He just couldn’t see it. Rarely could. That’s why he fell so hard when she left. She’d been holding him up. He shook his head in disgust. He’s sure she’d tell him to quit his moaning. Things’d get better. Easier said than done.

He stopped by his new digs, just to check things out. Reilly still couldn’t get used to the whole idea of freedom, that he was free to go wherever he wanted, now. It’s only when one loses that freedom does the thought of just going for a walk seem almost magnetic. Go. Why? Because you can. There was a small park nearby and he might as well go for a quick turn around.

Reilly grabbed his jacket, cramming it into his knapsack. The weather was cooling a little, even though it was still mid-September. It was likely a harbinger of things to come, no doubt. He walked, soldier-like to the park. He passed a couple clearly out for an evening walk. He’d kept his head down, only sorry afterwards for being so, what would Trudy say? Don’t be so grumpy. She’d giggle afterwards. That would always pierce through his curmudgeonly mood, forcing him to laugh.

When he reached the park, there was the odd person out for a walk. He headed for the benches that’d been placed along the water. It’d be nice to sit there for a while, enjoy the blue sky and the feathery clouds arrayed in the sky. Finding a place, he watched the gulls paddle in the water, rising with the swell of the tide.

He opened his eyes, when he heard the crashing bang, realising he must’ve dosed off. Quickly looking around, he spotted the over-turned bike behind him and the young boy lying on the ground.

“Are you okay?” he said, rushing to the boy who was trying to get up. He looked to be around thirteen or fourteen, Reilly thought. He was at the age where everything seemed to be getting longer and you still weren’t quite sure where to put everything. “Just hold on. Not so fast.” He lifted the bike up and rested it against the bench. “Are you okay?” He lifted the young boy from the ground. “You better sit down for a moment over here.”

“Thank you, sir,” he said. “That was close.”

Reilly chuckled a little. “That was very close. Are you sure you’re okay? It was a pretty good tumble you did.”

“Not to worry.” He plunked himself down on the seat, dusting himself off and checking his knee where he’d scraped his leg through his jeans. “Thanks very much, sir,” he said, smiling. Reilly smiled, thinking how he reminded him of his Trudy, people who were never easily dislodged from their heartened perspective.

“What’s your name?”

“I’m Gilbert. Most just call me Gil.”

“Listen, maybe you better call your mom or your dad. Maybe they could come pick you up, save you having to ride home. You’re gonna feel those bumps pretty soon.” Gil just looked out to sea, the gulls darting around offshore. He glanced quickly at Reilly, meeting his eyes.

“My mom and dad are gone.” He looked away again, seemingly hesitant to linger with any further human connection.

“Sorry. Really sorry to hear that.” Gil merely shrugged his shoulders. Reilly stared out to sea for a moment. “That’s rough. How’re ya doing?”

“Oh, I’m okay. Me and my sister, we’re living with our uncle and his wife.”

“How’s that going?”

“My aunt can be a bit of a witch sometimes, but for the most part she’s okay, I guess. I think it’s just hard for her to grow accustomed to two kids being around.” He gave a wide smile. “But my uncle, he’s the best. We’ve been living with them for a couple of years now.”

“Yeah, it’s good you’ve got someone you can look up to.” He paused for a moment. “It’s hard, though, losing someone.” Their eyes met.

“Well, I was pretty much gone for a while after the accident. But then I remembered what our mom always used to say,” Gilbert said. “She’d go on and on about how important it is to believe in yourself. She’d say there’s no one like you in all of history and there never will be again. So, your life, she’d say, is your beautiful creation. Makes ya feel kinda special,” he said, smiling at Reilly.

“She sounds like she was a wonderful person.” His thoughts went to his Trudy. It was something she would’ve no doubt said.

“Yeah, she was. My dad, too. He used to say how folks sometimes spent their entire lives trying to prove they’re value, that they’re worth something and all the time their answer’s within them, not outside.” Reilly nodded his head, looking out to the horizon. It seemed so obvious now with Gil explaining it. But he’d never thought about it.

“You were really lucky to have the parents you had. Mine,” he said, laughing wryly, “weren’t the best. Ruled by the bottle, if you know what I mean.” He put his head down.


“Aah, the way she goes. Luck of the draw, I imagine,” Reilly said. “But I met somebody afterwards, she’s no longer with us. She was like your parents.” Gil excitedly nodded his head.

“Sorry you had to say good bye to your lady. But yes, you know what I mean, then! It’s like you’ve now got a key to unlock the true beauty of the world—and of you.” He was beaming, pointing to Reilly. “Well, I better be on my way. If not, my aunt and uncle will be wondering where I’ve gone. It was really nice chatting with you, sir.” Gil put on his helmet and then waved to Reilly as he pedalled away.

Reilly’s eyes wandered back to the horizon. Gil was right. It was all within each one of them. He’d spent how many hours in prison, wrestling with his worth, trying desperately to find it. Reilly remembered looking into a mirror and seeing nothing but a total failure staring back at him. He knew he’d taken a seriously wrong turn to land him where he was. Trudy had helped him and he’d leaned on her, he realised, for everything. She was so strong.

Still, talking with Gil, it was only now he realised that, all the time, he was the one with the answer. What an epiphany. He’d spent a good part of his life trying to find his worth outside of him. Although, his worth and value as a person was there all along. And imagine, all it took was a ten minute chat with a thirteen or fourteen year old.

Reilly got up from the bench and walked through the park, the attributes he felt were at one time mediocre, ascended in their quality. The flowers were somehow brighter and the trees, richer in their sundry greens.

He hopped up the stairs, pulling out his phone.

“Hey, Matt, how’re ya going.”

“Great, man. How are you? I take it you’re back with us.”

“Yeah. Just this morning. I was wondering if there’d be any chance to get some work on one of the jobs. I’m more than happy to pay up and all.”

“Sure, I’d be happy to put your name in for some that should be coming up soon. Just let me go over to the computer.” He paused a moment. “And listen, I know things have been a little rough of late, but I don’t think that’ll be a problem. You’re good at what you do.”

“Thanks. I wouldn’t mind updating my information and paying my membership.”

When he got off the phone, he sat back and watched as the sun sank into the water, a melody of colours highlighting the sky.

“Well, here’s to you Trudy, my love. Maybe this really is a new chapter.”

A Landscape of Garbage

A Landscape of Garbage

Our waste may be a central part of our lives, although once we’ve marched it to the curb, it’s quickly ejected from our thoughts. It’s an exercise in great irony. The landscape of garbage epitomised by the jagged hills of our landfills, is filled with the bits and pieces of our forgotten lives. Yet these landscapes, however much they are disregarded, are an aspect of who we are. And they are firmly in the here and now. Our waste is us, so to speak.

Landfills are usually sited on the outskirts of any community. For those of us in eastern Placentia Bay, all of our waste heads to Robin Hood Bay Waste & Recycling, located at the edge of St. John’s, NL.

Photo by Valeria Vaganian on Unsplash

The immense mounds of the landfill holds our remains, myriad items, each stamped with the memories of our lives—food, bedding, once-loved birthday gifts, and numerous other objects deemed essential at one time or another. They’re all there, crushed, mulched, and mangled together, their usefulness now a distant memory.

Landfills are vast landscapes, resonant of a host of historical, social, economic, political meanings. Each are awkwardly aligned. As a landscape, landfills will always be confounding in their complexity.

Historical Aspect of Landfills

The idea of a landfill isn’t new. We’ve always needed a place to discard our waste. Whether we like it or not, the idea is a deeply embedded element of our history, one going back to the dawn of time.

In previous centuries, it might have better been referred to as a midden. Originally of Scandinavian origin, the word derived from the Swedish mödding. The midden would remain uncovered and simply accumulate the waste. Shell middens were common, and a reflection of its creator’s diet.

Photograph of a shell midden in Argentina (Source: Wikipedia).

In recent years, many of us would recall the “dumps” in our neighbourhoods. And they were just that, a dump. There was no real organisation to them. They’d be possibly open only at prescribed times, but generally, whatever we no longer wanted, these items could be dumped there.

Landfills, by contrast, are different entities. Yes, they’re dumps, although there’s more attention paid to their management and organisation. They yield a landscape that may not be aesthetically appealing. Nonetheless, these landscapes play an essential role in our lives.

The Plastic Dilemma

During the time landfills or middens were used in the past, the vast majority of the waste was organic in nature. While some of the materials, such as bone, may have taken a longer period of time to decompose, they would eventually degrade.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Things changed with the development of plastic. Originating in the mid nineteenth century, it really surged into our lives during the Second World War when plastics became a ready alternative to metal. Everything subsequently changed regarding the disposal of an increasing abundance of plastic waste going into our landfills.

Fast forward to the current situation that confounds us. If there’s a need for an item, no doubt there’s a version with at least some component being constructed with plastic. Bags of every sort, computers, diapers, cups and saucers, knives and forks, shoes, clothing, and virtually everything we need uses some form of plastic.

A trot to the local landfill will find every one of them taking up their place in the jumble of materials in the various heaps. Currently around 350–400 million tons of plastic waste is generated every year. Unfortunately, there’s little indication this will diminish any time soon.

It’s unknown how long plastics take to degrade. If they do, it would no doubt exceed several of our lifetimes. Plastics are composed primarily of carbon, much like ourselves. Despite being biobased, the plastics—micro- and macro-—do not biodegrade. Technically, though, they do break down, as opposed to decomposing.

Having broken down, the resulting microplastics that result have led to a host of other problems. They are especially dangerous in aquatic habitats where the fish invariably ingest them. Those microplastics then just travel along the food web until they get to the animals at the top of the web—like us.

Microplastics have numerous ways of getting into humans. They’re in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breath. It’s epidemic. We generally consume about a credit card’s worth of plastic every week. That’s about 5 grams. Researchers certainly feel microplastics are not beneficial in our systems. However, there’s no real knowledge of their impact. For instance, how long do they even remain in our bodies?

Albeit worrisome, we can make decisions that reduce the presence of plastic in our lives. Try using less single-use plastic, including food packaging. Maybe recycle that water bottle and buy one made of glass. How about thinking twice about using that disposable plate and cutlery. These are only a few of many options available to us.

While efforts to divert plastics from the waste are ongoing, they don’t solve the problem of the excessive amount going into the landfills. Currently in Canada, only 9% of plastics are recycled. That’s not a lot. Still, it’s up to us to ensure this statistic increases. Other options are opening up in terms of dealing with our abundance of plastics.

Researchers are exploring whether certain microorganisims can be used to biodegrade the plastics. Potential strains including Streptococcus, Aspergillus, Bacillus, Staphylococcus Penicillium, Moraxella and Streptomyces are potential microorganisms that can biodegrade plastic. If obtained from the landfill environment, these microorganisms can be used in biodegradation of plastic wastes in a controlled environment such as a landfill. Researchers continue to explore these options.

Landfills are a growing industry. This element of the landscape poses immense challenges for humans. There are more than 10,000 landfills in Canada and they are rapidly reaching their capacity.

We’re able to shave off a fraction of the waste by re-directing it to recycling, about 28% of it. But the rest heads to the landfill, is shipped abroad—still a problem, but now someone else’s—or is burned. The export of waste is becoming less appealing for those in receipt. Increasingly, they’re beginning to reject these “gifts” we’re offering.

Landfills and Wildlife

Landfills are an assured source of food for our feathered friends. In various landfills, we can always find our steadfast gulls, never one to overlook an opportunity. Elsewhere, landfills will also draw starlings, as well as bald eagles to note another two loyal patrons. Neither are above taking advantage of the smorgasbord on offer at a landfill.

Gull image – Free stock photo – Public Domain photo – CC0

It’s a double-edged sword for the gull. While a landfill appears to be a veritable banquet, it is also filled with a host of non-organic materials. And gulls are open to all and sundry where food is concerned. Gulls, in particular, are exceedingly adept at dealing with unwanted items entering their digestive system. They simply regurgitate the material and job done. But what remains can still cause a problem.

Sharp-edged materials can potentially poke holes in their digestive tracts causing any number of infections. The same would be true of any animals dining on our waste, such as bald eagles or starlings. For instance, researchers have discovered starlings are ingesting food containing chemicals from flame retardants. It’s suggested insects such as crickets in mainland Canada are ingesting the chemicals. These chemicals are simply being passed on to starlings when they ingest the insect.

Landfills and Pollution

Landfills are admittedly a physical eyesore in the landscape. But after all, no one goes to a landfill expecting beauty. The landfill at Robin Hood Bay has its own share of challenges. Much to the dismay of many citizens, a portion of the material deposited in the landfill blows away in high winds. This affects adjacent areas. Complaints are also raised about the other fringe benefits of landfills—leachate and methane gas.

Both leachate and methane gas are expected consequences of the vast stew of materials present in a landfill—organic waste, metals, plastic, rubber and so on. When rain water filtres through this conglomeration, what leaches through has collected the myriad chemicals from the various materials. To manage this waste, certain measures are taken to try and collect this toxic soup—with more or less success. More on that a little later.

Similarly, the solid waste, a portion being organic naturally undergoes aerobic or oxygen-assisted decomposition. Although, it is not until this process of decomposition takes place in anaerobic conditions when methane gas is generated. Anaerobic conditions occur within the dense mass of waste where there is little to no access for oxygen.

Landfills like Robin Hood Bay now possess systems of piping that collect the leachate and the methane gas. It’s no easy task. Efforts are seriously being made to address the pollution generated by the landfill. However, at Robin Hood Bay, despite the efforts being made to limit the waste, some of it continues to escape and diminish the quality and aesthetics of neighbouring waterways and regions.

So, citizens have been forced to step up and take the municipality to task. What’s been done is wonderful, but more needs to be accomplished. Which is simply to say, the job is rarely ever complete.


Landfills are generally multimillion dollar endeavours. From the engineers who design the landfill to the men and women receiving residents who are bringing their waste to those who operate the vehicles used to manage the waste—compacting the waste and moving it around. People are also required to focus on public relations and so on. For instance, Robin Hood Bay offers tours of their facility. Any landfill waste management organisation will employ hundreds of individuals.

Moreover, there is a periodic need for upgrades. These are usually in the neighbourhood of millions of dollars. Robin Hood Bay recently undertook upgrades to their facility which cost $56 million. As we know, the amount of waste we create is increasing. So, it’s expected that how we manage that waste is going to change and it will continue to demand more money.

Not a Wasted Landscape

A landfill is certainly not reflective of the many landscapes often endeared in our hearts—those by the seashore or with mountains splendidly soaring in the background. Still, they represent a landscape governed by a considerable number of meanings. For those of us dotted around Placentia Bay, it is our waste that helps Robin Hood Bay to grow. Our distance doesn’t abrogate our need to be actively aware of how this mixture of meanings come together, forging this landscape.

Despite the lack of appeal of landfills, they are central to our lives and will continue to play a role in all their myriad facets.


Adetunji, Charles Oluwaseum and Anani, Osikamekha Anthony “Chapter 14 Plastic-Eating Microorganisms: Recent Biotechnological Techniques for Recycling of Plastic”

Baggaley, Kate 2018 “Seagulls are eating all of our garbage” Popular Science

Begum, Tammana 2020 “Microplastics: what they are and how you can reduce them”

Blair, Nicole 2023 “Recycling Statistics in Canada” Made in Canada

Chen, Da et al. 2013 “European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) Suggest That Landfills Are an

Important Source of Bioaccumulative Flame Retardants to Canadian

Terrestrial Ecosystems” Environmental Science and Technology

Deer, Ryan 2021 “Landfills: We’re Running Out of Space” Roadrunner: Smarter Recycling

Friends of Sugarloaf Path 2017 “St. John’s Dirty Secret”

Ian Froude’s response to “City of St. John’s – Clean Up Robin Hood Bay Landfill, Skerries Brook & Sugarloaf Path”

Government of Newfoundland and Labrador 2017 “SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY


Made in CA 2023 “Recycling Statistics in Canada”

Ritchie, Hannah and Max Roser 2018 “Plastic Pollution”

Shah, Kevin 2020 “A Brief History of Plastic” Medium

Tamoor, M. et al. 2021 “Potential Use of Microbial Enzymes for the Conversion of Plastic Waste Into Value-Added Products: A Viable Solution”

The Canadian Press 2018 “Canadian study finds seagulls eating drywall, metal among other garbage” CBC-NL

The Conference of Canada 2023 “Waste Generation”

Ward, Rachel, Cashore, Harvey,Lavigne, Chantal, and Shochat, Gil 2022 “Illegal Canadian trash keeps ending up overseas. And the federal government won’t say who’s shipping it”

Westreich, Sam 2022 “How do Microplastics Enter Our Bodies?”

Landscapes of Hope

Landscapes of Hope

Sunset (Photograph source: Welcome to All ! from Pixabay.

Many of us can imagine a gratifying landscape. It might differ in terms of its details—perhaps a burbling stream in one, a meadow of wildflowers in another. For others, it may have mountains soaring to the sky and for still another, it could possibly even be a night-scape of one of the largest cities in the world. They all have a certain beauty to them.

Regardless, these landscapes of hope evoke feelings that urge us into a dream of what might be. We can look at the world around us and derive a feeling of goodness or hope, making it far more gratifying or pleasant.

And sure, some of the places we may live and work are a far cry from pleasant. Hopeful isn’t the first word we’d choose to describe many of these places. Perhaps we live in a house with leaky taps, a few holes in the walls and so on.

Hope is defined as a longing or desire for something, along with the belief in the possibility of its occurrence. When we find those landscapes of hope, they’re inspiring and uplifting. They are the stepping stones to change, providing a blueprint for a desired future.

Creating Landscapes of Hope

There’s a lot going on in the world right now that can bring us down. There’s no need to belabour the point, describing the various concerns that are dogging our heels. Futile wars or the increased cost of living are but two.

We’re surrounded by the broken debris of a world that seems at times to be falling apart, spiritually and in a practical sense, too. Even if our lives are well-manicured and precise, jagged edges remain to tear into our spirits.

A comforting tonic to ease our troubles is often readily in view if or hopefully when we happen to see it. They don’t even have to be monumental, just enough to kindle sentiments in our hearts of a place we’d want to be. And it’s in our own best interests to see the potential snapshots of beauty or magic in the landscape.

Countless times, if we’re lucky, we’ll spot the little pockets of wonder all around. The obvious ones are maybe a glorious sunrise or sunset. Others are not so obvious, but they’re there. Helping to colour and bring light to the future, such vignettes, however small, can be distinguishing features of a landscape of hope.

And old forgotten cabin. Source of Photo: Mariya Tereshkova on Unsplash

We’ve all experienced it. Sometimes we walk by an area that, on first sight, leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps it’s a bit ramshackle. Especially if it’s a spot with an old abandoned cabin, maybe, with its doors hanging on rusty old hinges. We may see it every day on our daily ramble through the woods.

Otherwise, it could be a rough and tumble part of the woods, the trees mostly blown down after the last wind-storm. We look with sadness at the trees, buckled and bowed now.

In both instances, we can only offer a sad appraisal of these vignettes. Neither would seem even a fragment of a landscape of hope. Although, give it time. Dependent on our frame of minds, slowly but surely, it can transform.

Northern Flicker (Source of photograph: Wikipedia).

In our minds, the wood logs of the cabin can renew, the sound of hammering distantly punctuating our thoughts. We think of how it likely was when it was first erected. The rickety hinges are renewed in our minds, the rust fading.

Along the trail near all those bowed trees, there’s a snag of a tree. And in one of its several holes, we can just imagine a Northern Flicker flying to and fro. The world in its natural circumstances interently provides the ingredients for a rebirth.

Both of these form the nucleus of a landscape of hope, lightening our hearts and helping turn our perspectives towards visions of what could be. They are two of any number of vignettes that could form landscapes of hope. Through the power of our imagination, we transformed these depictions into what they could be in the days ahead. So, by extension, landscapes of hope can be touchstones for a future. They can be the initial steps toward shaping our frame of mind as we create the changes we envision.

Changing Ourselves to Change the World

In 1913, Mahatma Ghandi spoke the following words:

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

This is simply to say, we control what happens in our world. We’re the ones who can create the landscapes of hope. These can then go on to inspire us to create a world in which we wish to live. It’s in our hands.

Finding a Way Through a Dangerous World

Finding a Way Through a Dangerous World

Image source: Image by Wolfgang Eckert from Pixabay).

Threat, danger, and harm. These are the watch-words for fear. Our world is currently living amidst a brutal push and pull. Myriad countries are playing a role—Russia, the United States, Ukraine, Germany, Poland, Britain and more. Ultimately, what lies at the heart of their melee? It is nothing other than our dear old friend ego and its compatriot, fear. They are two sides of the same coin, central in this charade.

Fear For Survival

Fear is defined as “a very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence or imminence of danger.” After emerging from our watery birthplace and setting foot on land, the strive to survive has been a constant companion. With that, has come fear.

We can cast our minds back thousands of years, when our lives were often in danger. At the time, many threats existed beyond the circles of safety we’d desperately create around our fires. Night and day, we’d fear for our survival. It’s a very old game.

Huddled around the safety of the fire. Source: Photo by Joris Voeten on Unsplash.

Although, the game of survival is played according to very different rules nowadays. We need only look at what’s currently occurring now on our planet. Many, if not all, the power games of the various countries and companies revolve around resources we require for our survival—oil, gas, and food.

Naturally, they fear that without the control of the resources, they cannot survive. However, the natural fear is compounded by the fear they’ll lose control of the oil, gas, food and so on. Thus, they fight for power and control. Otherwise, they fear other companies and countries will walk away with billions of dollars and control over more resources.

Ego Enters the Fray

Things get a lot more complicated when our egos enter the fray. Along with fear, our egos play an equally central role. The Latin “ego” means “I” in English. So, if something is “egoic,” it relates to the “ego” or “I.” Egotism is practised by virtually everyone. The idea is a focus on the “I” or the “me.” Egocentrism refers to perceiving the world solely from one’s own personal perspective. In fact, in virtually all the plights of the world, it’s possible to witness the presence of the ego or the “I.”

We derive a sense of who we are by virtue of our ego and with what we identify. We do so intensely, with conditions such as our physical appearance, status, culture, experience, assets, age and of course, money and power. They are what we have become.

Our false selves we hide behind ultimately only fooling

ourselves. Source: Photo by Iulia Mihailov on Unsplash.

For many now in control, their egos are strongly guided by money, power and therefore, control. According to our egoic conditioning, these qualities become how many have defined themselves, what some refer to as the false self. It is not truthfully who they are, although it’s who they’ve become.

Out of Control

Once this groundwork is laid, the way is clear for fear to further seize control. Sometimes it’s an intense fear that drives people to want control over a resource another possesses. “I” demand to have control over that resource, they vehemently claim, given the overwhelming fear it will otherwise slip away. Not necessarily slip away to be lost forever, but into another’s control.

“I” want control of this resource and “I” possess the power to make it so. “I” seek to command this country to do my bidding. Again, “I” have the power to ensure it occurs. We have myriad “I’s” or “egos” strutting about laying claim to this or that resource.

And so, the throng of egos madly thrash about as they are bowed by their indomitable fears. In so doing, they make a mess, governed by their egos, fuelled by their fears. Initially driven by the desire to survive, they are soon subsumed by their egos that are defined by their control of money and power.

Like a passel of unruly kindergartners, each then wrestles for total control. They get nowhere, beyond meeting goals of control they’ve convinced themselves are essential for their, and only their survival. All the while, pandering to their false selves, as per their ego, defined by money, power and control.

We Push Ever More Forcefully

Many push levers convincing themselves they wield total control of the world. In their estimation, it is a control exceeding even that of Mother Nature. Of course, their efforts pale in comparison to the strength and beautiful savageness casually wielded by Mother Nature. After all, before we existed, our planet was at times a cataclysmic maelstrom of explosive devastation far beyond anything humans could hope to muster.

Images of what was once a city of loving, laughing people. Photo Source: Mahmoud Sulaiman on Unsplash.

Either way, they’ll certainly make a mess of at least a part of the world. And they’ve already violently disrupted millions of lives and taken countless others. These entities can cast brutal blows. There is no question.

For some reason, the movement has been one of division rather than unification. And here, it seems fear is the barrier, ensuring we do not come together. Rather, each one fights vehemently for his or her own survival and continued comfort.

Is There Another Way?

We’re left wondering if there is not another way. Most of us know the obvious response to conundrums such as these in our own lives. It’s what many of us do when faced with a threat to our collective survival—we work together. In so doing, we combine our skills and energy and are thus far more than capable of facing any challenge.

Ultimately, actions in the pursuit of global power and its icon of money are partially an effort to control the means to survive. Our egos get in the way and we become defined by money and power. Where does it end?

It will end when those in power cease bowing to their egos, serving up a false self they slavishly attempt to satisfy. Moreover, it’ll end when the overwhelming power of collegiality, kindness, empathy and goodness rises—as it always does eventually.

The essence of hope. Image Source: Michael Kleinsasser from Pixabay

The goal is to come together. Through connection, we find one another and reveal the spirit within. As Brené Brown says, “People are hard to hate close up. Move in.”

I’m not saying the stakes aren’t exceedingly high. We’re playing with fire and yes, it’s entirely likely some of us are going to burn our hands, perhaps irreversibly so. Still, I’m merely saying this is an opportunity for us to resist by simply coming together. Love can douse the flames of hatred.


Brown, Brené 2017 Braving the Wilderness (New York: Random House)

Israel, Ira 2023 “How to Dissolve the Ego (According to Eckhart Tolle’s Teachings)”’s-Teachings)

Narvaez, Darcia F. 2019 “Self-Transformation 2: Ego-Dissolution”

Vice News 2023 “Reporting from Inside the Ukrainian Refugee Crisis”