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Nonviolent Worm Displays

Today at the Faith In Recovery, mental health and spirituality, conference I brought both my displays, the one on resistance from Peacefest and the one from the Sustainability Festival at the Urban Ecology Center. When Sister Ann Catherine, the president of Faith In Recovery, asked me what I called the displays, which also included AIR and the Worm Magic show components, I said it was the Garden of Healing and Resistance. The Nonviolent Worm felt right at home at this conference, which covered subjects from “mindfulness”, being present to where you are, to the role of spirituality in recovery. Nonviolence, which Judith Brown in her book on Gandhi defines as “striving nonviolently to the point of sacrifice rather than fighting to attain one’s vision of truth” and the Worm, the heart of the growing power method, seem to go together in the display seamlessly.

“Mindfulness”, the act of living and being in the present, seems to be at the heart of this connection of nonviolence and the worm. It is as Thomas Merton says “the ‘now’ that cuts Time like a blade.” The worms in the Garden of Resistance continually eat waste and cast off waste turned into rich organic soil. Worms, like other non-human creatures except young children that have not learned better, are focused on the present moment. To be like a worm or like a child is to live mindfully, finding meaning in the present and not ruminating on the past or future. Yes, we all need to do some critical thinking at times, but we usually do too much. To be present to the “now” is something natural that we unlearn as we grow up and must learn again. In mindfulness lives the nonviolent worm.

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