I absolutely love to run in the woods. This past spring, on one of my trail running adventures I was marvelling at all of the new growth emerging from the forest floor. From the sprouting vanilla leaf, to the unraveling sword ferns, I was reminded of the significant role that biodiversity plays in keeping our forests healthy and vital. A healthy forest includes the cohabitation of a variety of plants that share space and work together, as they move through the stages of life; from reproduction to birth, through vitality, and eventually to death. There is space for each of these beings to flourish in their authentic state and various stage of the life cycle. And even with the process of death, comes decomposition and a gifting of nutrients back into the soil. A healthy forest ecosystem teaches us about co-existence, symbiosis, and the unique ways that diversity not only enriches a space, but supports it to thrive while in relationship.
Our communities are much the same. We were not all meant to be cut from the same cloth. We all have different talents, diverse backgrounds and histories that make us who we are - and enrich the fabric of society when we feel safe to show up as our authentic selves. We are ever-exposed to social messages that pressure us to conform and adopt a monocultural identity, but these idealistic ways of being degrade our sense of personhood, dim our radiance, and rob our communities of richness...much like the devastation left from a GMO-filled cornfield. We know that biodiversity heals.
This ode to the forest, comes in light of Pride Month, a time to celebrate, support and protect diversity. Pride is a reminder of the various roles that we can play in our communities to support one another to feel safe self-identifying using whatever pronoun, orientation, or cultural identity feels right. While we have a long way to go, I feel glimmers of hope when I walk in solidarity with community members in Nanaimo's second Pride Parade. I also feel a sense of excitement when I see rainbow crosswalks in our downtown, and the Pride Flag waving with dignity beside City Hall. Each of these acts plants a seed, and deliver a message that our community is proud of the diversity that is cultivated on this incredible land.
So, this Pride Month, I ask you:
What can you do to promote safety in your community?
How can you get in touch with your inner light just a little bit more, to give others that permission to shine too?
And as a community, how can we stand together to send the message that their is both safety AND celebration in diversity?
May this Pride Month provide an opportunity for you to stand strong in your authentic essence, and may it inspire the space to provide love, safety and support in symbiosis... just like the forest floor.