If you were to look at an aspen grove, you would see trees of different sizes standing near one another. Separate trees - at first glance. However, if you were to go beneath the topsoil - to dig deeper than the surface - you would see that the root system of all the trees is the same. Each tree is connected to the other, an interconnectedness serving as the perfect metaphor for how we exist as human beings. We may think we stand alone, but we are as interconnected as the aspen trees. What affects one of us affects us all, regardless of whether or not we feel it on a conscious level.

Understanding this interconnectedness reinforces the need to widen our circle of compassion. While there are many effective programs and organizations serving people, and while volunteerism is increasing, the needs still outweigh the current response. We have the ability to help everyone have a healthy experience of life. And while there is much to do to make this our reality, the simplicity of it all is clear. By understanding that love is a verb, not a noun, we can translate our compassion into action.

A simple shift in perception removes the boundaries - helping us to see how alike we all are. A shift in priority motivates us to not tolerate the tragic living conditions that continue to exist. We can make this world a place where every person has the opportunity to live well. To choose to do this is to live the possible life - to be fully human.

- Dr. Mark Bergel, 2001


aspen grove