In tending to the little piece of Mother Earth that is the front yard of my house, I reflected upon the current state of the world. In preparing to welcome winter and the return of light, I raked up the plethora of honey locust pods and cut back at the dead plant growth in order to be able to invite back regenerated life in the spring. As I did this, I thought about how someone somewhere on the other side of the world may have been doing a similar thing.
It made me wonder what their little piece of Mother Earth looked like and felt like. Was it dry and dusty like my little slice of suburban land near the Foothills of Colorado, begging to be revitalized into something more conducive to a semi-arid climate? Did they feel a similar sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility in taking care of their home?
My thoughts then shifted to how many people may have wanted to to be tending to their home, or how they may have at some time done a similar thing, but they could no longer do so because some sort of a tragedy left them displaced. Such tragedy could be the result of a natural catastrophe or it could be entirely man-made terror. Of course, climate change is helping to weave these two things together so that the situations become more intertwined and complex.
In tending to these unfolding thoughts, I reflected upon my own situation as a therapist, teacher, and musician living in a part of the world that has its own unique paradox of affluence and poverty. This led to more thoughts about the role I play as a music therapist, counselor, and music teacher in my community- particularly in regard to the long-term development of the children, teens, adults, and families with whom I work. I reflected on how fortunate they are to be able to have their basic needs met, as well as to be able to have access to opportunities for engaging with music on a deep and personal level.
These thoughts were immediately contrasted when I began reflecting upon the circumstances faced by many refugee children- especially those who have to make the arduous journey alone into a strange land. What will the cumulative, long-term impact be for them as individuals, and for us as a global society? Will these children and their families have the opportunity to find solace and healing through music? Will they be able to make meaning out of their experiences, or will the trauma remain deeply encoded within themselves?
Will we, as a global community, be able to overcome our collective, interconnected trauma, or will we continue to perpetuate it?
I wish that I could answer this question on behalf of everyone, but I can’t. I understand that the situation is complex, with many nuances that I may not be able to fully comprehend. However, I do understand that I have a role to play in helping make the world a better place. Sometimes it may only be in tending to Mother Earth, while other times it is in tending to the needs of another person who has endured unspeakable pain. In those situations, I find myself forever grateful for the skills and expertise I have as a music therapist and counselor with a keen interest in other worldviews.
May each of us come together in tending to that who we are, and that which we intend to share for the betterment of humanity. And so it is.