Dismiss Whatever Insults Your Soul

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.”

~ Walt Whitman

Silvia (me) eight months…when the world could have been changed…(but wasn’t)


I’ve found beauty, deep empathy and true compassion among those who others see as “different”. In odd places and strange times and peoples: among the dying, the sick, the depressed, the homeless or the doomers. Those rejected from “mainstream” society…

The world can be a very, very strange place indeed.

Today, out of curiosity and partially by mistake I joined a group whose goal is to discuss climate change…I didn’t last 20 minutes!

I was half outraged, half surprised, half painfully hurt by the sight of people’s behaviours, writings and thoughts…

I left and came back to my children…what a waste of time! There are places where we can’t learn absolutely anything…except that we don’t belong there…

My two boys, checking out the shore back in 2004...
My two boys, checking out the shore back in 2004…

Last year, I joined a program called “sustainable horticulture” where plants and soil are tortured, burned, intoxicated and treated as “stuff”…and where lectures still talk about golf courses’ lawns, fertilizers and pesticides…

I tried to stay open minded and curious and learn as much as I could…but after learning Permaculture from two awesome and caring teachers, meeting dozens of permaculturists and their projects, practicing organic gardening for years and growing food from when I was a girl, I couldn’t stay much longer…

A decaying leaf...a wonder in itself!
A decaying leaf…a wonder in itself!

Last Saturday, while buying some plants for my community garden, I witnessed a garden center seller convincing a clueless customer to buy a pesticide so she could “control” some aphids until the ladybugs were out later on spring and they would take care of these “things”…

I tried to stay quiet but couldn’t and told the lady how she could manage these little creatures by observing, caring for her flowers’ health, using other plants and nature to balance their amount…as the pesticide would also kill the ladybugs and create a vicious cycle where she would have to buy and use bigger amounts of venom to keep things “right”.

Nasturtiums and Borage from my garden
Nasturtiums and Borage from my garden

The above are just three times, three examples of how you can knowingly or unknowingly expose yourself to things were you don’t belong…places and practices that leave you exhausted and hurt beyond words…but they are just surface of what I see (and sometimes live) everyday at home, work and at the community, world and times where and when we live…to some, I am directly exposed, to others, I’m a daily witness, such as the man who came to visit my office after four months, transformed: he was full of energy and dreams when I met him: now he works night shifts of 12 or more hours at a place where he barely can stand. He tells/shows me how his hands shake and ache, I hear his strange speech, slowed by the three Tylenols he has to take each day so he can handle the pain and stay awake…

Tears in Rain - Roy (Blade Runner, 1982)
Tears in Rain – Roy (Blade Runner, 1982)

But you can’t lie to your body, you can’t lie to your soul: I absolutely LOVE soil and its creatures! I love plants and I understand what’s behind climate change, ecosystems, soil, water and biodiversity pollution and depletion…I care enough for real people, which makes me to deeply feel when an injustice is being made…

Those who know me closely know that I can’t shut up…some joke that I get into trouble even at my age, that I will never change. Even mom (73 years now!) says so: that I couldn’t keep still when something was wrong. I have left jobs, places, studies, “friends” and even entire countries behind…

Me and little sister at the house we built together with neighbours and friends...I glued some of those bricks!
Me and little sister at the house we built together with neighbours and friends…I glued some of those bricks!

I sometimes escape from everyone’s view just to stay with my cats and my dog, to bake bread, to watch my plants grow or play with the soil in my little garden (I actually don’t like to wear gloves!)…sometimes I accept tasks to teach at remote places just for the pleasure of being alone in buses, trains and ferries or just walking and backpacking, staying at a B&B with nice people, chatting with refugees and immigrants from all over the world, and then retire to be alone, read a book and watch the world be…


I’m not scared (and never had) from blood and injuries, sickness or even death. I’m not scared of scarcity or “poverty”, as I have lived through all that and found solidarity, freedom, strength, compassion and friendship in them.

But I’m scared of stupidity, lies, negligence, chosen ignorance, selfishness, brutality, abuse, greed and vulgarity…

Dismiss Whatever Insults Your Soul

"The Garden Goddess with her harvest of bounty" Source: http://smellsgoodfeelsgood.com/tag/authenticity/
“The Garden Goddess with her harvest of bounty” Source: http://smellsgoodfeelsgood.com/tag/authenticity/


Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”
~ Walt Whitman

And Garden, garden, garden…

9 Comments on “Dismiss Whatever Insults Your Soul

  1. Sometimes I run into situations where I have to bring all my strength up not to loose it with certain people. Like you I cherish the times I am with likeminded folks and draw a lot of strength from them in the to short times we are together.
    If Harper gets reelected I will sell my place in Ontario and buy myself a sailing boat and sail around until I find a place that has what I been looking for so long, peace, loving people loving nature. I have not much hope finding it, but if I do, I will let you know, you and your readers are my people

    Liked by 1 person

    • You touched my heart Herb…you are my people too. Take care (and let me know if you find that place….meanwhile, I’ll stubbornly try to create it)


    • I was sharing with another “virtual” friend how change and connections can be started through either head (thoughts), heart (emotions/attitudes) or hands (behaviours/actions)…when we touch the soil without barriers or surrogates, we are allowing for direct contact with the source of life…that’s why soil makes us so happy and centered…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Heh Silvia – I just was outside looking around… even got my hands a little dirty (again). How serendipitous, to come inside from outdoors and receive this comment… I do feel happy and centered. Now I have to head into the real world (?) (i.e. work for money). Sometimes I wonder what the real world is.

        Liked by 1 person

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