Saturday, January 29, 2011

rest in peace, jim otterstrom

I came across jim o's blog via dharma bums, and though I was only an occasional visitor, I very much admired him and the sustainable life he built with his wife, peg, on their beautiful piece of california land. though I didn't "know" him, he seemed a kindred spirit. his words and photographs always resonated with me, and knowing people like him exist in this hard world makes me feel better when I am feeling low. and so I am deeply saddened to learn of his recent passing. I hope his family doesn't mind that I repost his final blog post here, because I think it is a beautiful, wise and fitting tribute to a good man.

namaste, jim. rest in peace.

For Gabrielle Giffords and all those whose lives were ruined on January 8th, by an act of hatred...

I've been trying to come to terms with the contempt and hatred I feel seething through our society since I was a young boy.

I've also been consistently disappointed in my fellow human beings for as long as I can remember, and in myself for carrying within me seeds of that same toxicity which poisons hearts.

Is it any wonder we have so much insanity in a world where every innocence is promptly contaminated by the appalling gore of our collective misdeeds?

We are reaping the fruit of violence we have sewn into the fabric of history---even as we continue shouldering the burden of horrific destruction we still fund throughout the world, with our tax dollars, the sweat of our labor, and the lifeblood of humanity---all in disregard for every other species on earth.

Like the people in this collage [see original blog], we are all victimized by hatred, fear, and ignorance, including our own.
Whatever we think of the individuals pictured here, they were all moved by the cruelty and injustice they saw around them to speak their truths, with compassion for others, and for that, each one was assassinated.

They made mistakes. After all they were only human, woven from the same imperfect cloth as the rest of us, but their common thread was compassion, and they died because of it.
We are capable of becoming so much more than we are, and each of the persons above gave us a glimpse into possibilities.

As long as I live, no matter how ugly the world becomes, I will hold love and compassion in my heart, and do my best to reach beyond the atmosphere of contempt, bitterness, fear, and hatred which permeates our times...
...even if it kills me.

~Peace & Love~
Jim Otterstrom
Gabrielle Giffords favorite quote, from her facebook page:
"With malice toward none, with charity for all, let us strive to finish the work we are in." ~ Abraham Lincoln

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