“People refer to nature as ‘Mother Nature.’ This is because we cannot live without water, and we cannot live without trees because they give us oxygen. Not only that, the roots of trees purify the water. Our biological mother keeps us on her lap for only a couple of years, but Mother Nature keeps us on her lap for our entire life.” ~Amma
AYUDH Yale-Connecticut and the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale came together on Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 in honor of Earth Day. Participants were greeted with a giant banner displaying the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, information on AYUDH initiatives, and an array of laptop stickers with pro-Earth designs and encouraging quotes on kindness, peace, and love from our inspiration and founder, Amma. Throughout the afternoon, forty students attended and each had the opportunity to plant a succulent or flowers to take home. AYUDH members also got to express some creativity by painting the pots with their messages of hope for the Earth and visions for a beautiful world. Participants also made their own “dirt pudding” (chocolate pudding, crushed chocolate cookie wafers, and gummy worms) and enjoyed snacks and chocolate bars complete with facts on endangered species on the wrappers.
The event followed a mindfulness and trash-pickup a few weeks prior whose goal was to both inspire inner peace and nuture nature by “taking out the trash,” both inside and out. Here students filled their hearts with service by spending some time quietly picking up trash from the New Haven Green, listening to their inner thoughts. They attempted to throw out the trash from their minds by paying less attention to thoughts of negativity or self-deprecation and instead focus on cultivating positive thinking and selflessness. The event concluded with food as participants filled their stomachs with icecream and dinner while reflecting on their new mindfulness techniques to tone down negative thoughts and develop greater resilience in the face of stress. The event was a really peaceful, pleasant break from the sometimes overwhelming thoughts of schoolwork, exams, papers, etc. Many participants found a unique and precious moment of calm and stillness as they spent some time in silent, selfless activity underneath branches budding with early leaves and the dusk rays of the warm, comforting sun overhead after a long and snowy winter.
Motivated by our founder and inspiration, Amma, whose words and actions resonate a drive to do our part to restore the peace and harmony to nature, AYUDH hopes the world will be a little bit greener and cleaner, with our forty participants now caring for their new plants and remembering, modeling, and spreading the message of sustainability and respect for the earth while cultivating positivity. You can read more about Amma’s simple but profound message on climate change here: https://goo.gl/forms/2DKjTIZo28k3DiTA2 and how you can empower change here: https://www.amritapuri.org/activity/nature/indeed
These AYUDH Yale-Connecticut events were generously sponsored by the Yale University Office of the Secretary and Vice President for Student Life, the Wellness Project Compassion-in-Action Series grant, the Asian American Cultural Center at Yale, the Yale University Harkness Graduate Dormitory, and the Medical Student Council.